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Already winging it in 2024


Already winging it in 2024

Ashley Robinson nicely dovetails into a new year, despite his wife’s feathered friends turning their home into something resembling a bird motel.

Happy New Year! Now, 2024 is upon us and I am guessing plenty of us have New Year’s resolutions or, in fact, dreams.

I will let you know what is on the top of the list for me later. Firstly, though, a little background on my life with Old Mate who cares for birds, the environment, and the old and infirmed. Basically, the tank is empty by the time she gets to me.

We have been together for decades and, as I have written before, I have had my turn via footy, punting, new cars and anything else Ashley wanted. It is now her turn, which is mostly devoted to looking after birds no one else wants.

Add to that, she is an A-grade pet detective and manages to connect lost birds (and occasionally dogs) back with their owners. But the rest of the feathered variety end up at our place – sometimes in nearly every room. Sick ones, injured ones and homeless ones end up somewhere in our joint.

We agreed recently that the pet motel was full and she was at her limit. I actually heard her telling someone where to take a bird as she couldn’t take any more.

So, I assume we are on the same page.

But the other morning, when I get up at my usual 4.30am and roll the blinds up on the aviaries, we have birds inside and out.

When I get to the fantail pigeons, I roll up the blind and think I see three bright-white birds when there is only supposed to be a pair. Now, I have had a bit of conjunctivitis recently, so immediately think I am seeing things. I close my eyes and refocus. But there are three there: not a miracle baby, as they are both boys, but a fully grown bird.

Puzzled, I take George for his walk and when I get back, I quiz Old Mate. She tells me that she thought she would sneak it in there and see how long it took me to notice.

Of course, there is always a good reason why she does it: to save another bird from being sent to paradise. And why would you go there when you can come to our place?

Speaking of paradise, my dream for 2024 is a car port with a loft and stairs as a sanctuary for me and George.

No birds other than the ones that are flying past.

Keep up the good work, Old Mate, and hope you all have a good ’24.


Ashley Robinson is the manager of Alex Surf Club and the chairman of the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

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